Here we are, a day before the “big decision” as to whether coach Hue Jackson will be keeping his job or not. At least that’s what the national press would have you believe.
In reality, coach Jackson and his new boss Reggie McKenzie are most likely laughing and smiling about all of the hoopla surrounding Jackson’s reported demise as head coach of the Oakland Raiders. They all have the two of them meeting Monday afternoon to “re-interview” for his job. The funny thing is, according to Henry Wofford of CSN Bay Area, McKenzie isn’t even scheduled to arrive in Alameda until late Monday night. The two men won’t even talk until shortly before the scheduled press conference at 2pm PST. What does this mean? It means that Hue Jackson being fired was never even close to being a consideration. Otherwise, they would have spoken not once, but many times leading up to this announcement tomorrow.
I guess you really can’t fault the national media too much (I’ve been extremely critical) since the desired effect has taken place. Their purpose, I guess, is to spur debate about what’s going to happen in Raiderland. They want to add drama to something that otherwise, is a pretty “blah” hiring.
Mark Davis has a group of very close advisers that were all extremely loyal to his late father, Al Davis. Each and every one of those advisers want to maintain the Al Davis legacy alive in some form or another. Don’t, for one second, think that the fact that Reggie McKenzie once wore the Silver and Black with pride is just a coincidence. Al Davis always had a great loyalty to former players that were loyal to him. There are no indications that McKenzie does not fit that mold. Mark Davis is also thought to have a great affinity to current and former players.
All that being said, those advisers would not steer the younger Davis in a direction that would completely contradict what his father would have done. Can you honestly tell me that John Madden would do that? He’s part of that inner circle of trusted football people in Mark’s corner.
The one lasting legacy that Al Davis still has with this team is one, Hue Jackson. He was hand picked and groomed by the elder Davis to become the head coach of this football team. He trusted Jackson to mold this team in the image of what Mr. Davis envisioned a championship team to be.
When Mr. Davis first hired Jackson to be the offensive coordinator of the Raiders, it was almost immediately reported that he was basically hiring a head coach in waiting. It seems Mr. Davis was almost relieved that the Raiders didn’t make the playoffs after last season,(although I don’t think even a playoff berth would have saved him) just to give him more cause not to renew Tom Cable’s contract.
Mark Davis and Amy Trask have great respect for Hue Jackson, especially the way he pays ultimate respect to Al Davis at every opportunity. There is absolutely no way that the hiring of a new general manager is in any way going to undermine that. There’s just no way. And anybody who thinks differently simply doesn’t have his/her facts straight.
If you take away all of the emotional and sentimental reasons why Hue Jackson isn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future, look at the practical reasons as well. Jackson had a lot on his plate for a rookie head coach in the National Football League.
He started his rookie campaign with a good quarterback that knew how to manage the game and eliminate turnovers. He had one of, if not the most, dynamic young running backs in the league in Darren McFadden. He had an electrifying young receiving corps that included two big play makers in Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford. Everything was great. Then, less than half way in to the season, he loses his QB for the season, he loses his extremely talented RB for what would also end up being the entire season, and he lost both WR’s for extended periods as well (in addition to others like Marcel Reece, along with Matt Shaughnessy on defense.) To top this off, the one stabilizing force in the franchise passes away.
Jackson was thrust into a position he never thought he would be in. He had to manage the front office while trying to manage each individual game. This is still a rookie head coach we’re talking about here. That’s unheard of. He made a blockbuster trade for a franchise quarterback, and whether you agree with it or not, that took a lot of work to do in the midst of trying to win games.
More than anything, if you’re Mark Davis (who happens to have the ultimate authority) you don’t reward the absolute most loyal employee you had this past season by giving him his walking papers, you just don’t. Hue Jackson deserves, and will be given at least a year, and most likely more, to show what he can do when he can focus solely on coaching this team. Reggie McKenzie is a great hire, but Hue Jackson keeping his job is just as important to this franchise as anything else, period.